This essay is going to be about the most important enlightenment thinker for me, Adam Smith. You’ll read why he’s the best and why he has the best ideas in my opinion. You’ll read about a few things:
- Who is Adam Smith? -> to have a bit of an idea about who he was and where his ideas could be about. Like, when someone is an astronomer, it would be most likely to have ideas about astronomy as well and maybe how his life was and how that affected his ideas.
- What were his ideas and why are they the best in my opinion? -> In comparison to some of the Enlightenment thinkers on the list as well. Also how it affects our world right now.
Adam Smith was a Scottish economist and he was called the Father of Modern Economics. He wrote a book, the Wealth of Nations, which was a very important book. He was also a philosopher and he also wrote a book about philosophy, called The Theory of Moral Sentiments. He was born in 1723 and died on the 17d of July 1790 (aged 67).
Some of his ideas.
In his book the Wealth of Nations about economy (especially market economics), it says ‘what can a person do that is best for his country?’ He said that if every person does what is best for himself and his little group of family and friends, then the country will do better. My opinion about this idea is that he is completely right with his conclusion. That’s because every person knows about their own situation (what he needs, what he wants, what works etc.) You know that better of yourself than the government. The government can’t look to all the personal perspectives so some things will be against you. (laws, rules etc.)
He also thought that empathy was very important in ethics. Empathy is when you feel how someone else is feeling, imagine how he or she is feeling, and then end up feeling in the same way a bit. He said empathy meant ‘putting yourself in someone else’s shoes’. My opinion about this idea is that he is again completely right with this conclusion. You should be able to realize how someone else is feeling, or going through. When you don’t have empathy, you are just emotionless and you won’t understand how someone else is feeling and it’s going to be difficult to help him/her with their situation if needed.
Why are his ideas the best in my opinion?
My opinion about almost all his ideas are good. He has a specific view which attracts me. The book he wrote ‘’the Wealth of Nations’’ contains some things where the modern economy still is based on today. That’s pretty impressive, cause the book is written in 1776 and after 237 years it still affects our economy in some way, especially market economics. It also affects my life, because everyone has to do with the economy or will have to do with it in the future. With his first idea about ‘what can a person do that is best for his country?’, he developed a sort of thinking called ‘liberal theory’ which is a big part of liberalism. Liberalism was a political stream in the Enlightenment and Smith was a ideologist of this stream. As you can see he did many things; philosophy, economics, liberalism, writing books.. That’s much good work in my opinion. He thought about empathy in ethics where he wrote a book about but also about market economics, two very different things. The main thing why Adam Smith is the most important Enlightenment thinker in my opinion is that his theories are still used today and that’s very impressive. That he thinks about both economy and philosophy goes along with my choice, but isn’t the main thing because more people (like Descartes; philosophy, physics) thought about more than one ‘subject’. His ideas/theory affects my life so that is also an important part why I chose him.
Hopefully you have a good view now of why Adam Smith is the best Enlightenment thinker in my opinion and you know some more about who he was and what he did!